San Francisco Chronicle- Imagine the killing to be made right now if you could find a way to capitalize on fear. That’s precisely what Dr. Alexander Hoffman does in Robert Harris’s gothic new thriller, “The Fear Index.”
The physicist-turned-hedge-fund-manager unleashes a trading algorithm that feeds on human emotions to predict market fluctuations. In just a week, VIXAL-4 makes a profit of $79.7 million. Then, on May 6, 2010 — the day of the so-called flash crash, when the Dow briefly dropped 9.2 percent — it goes rogue, catapulting its creator into a paranoid universe of murder and market mayhem.